Portland City Manager Danielle West on Thursday named her pick to lead the city’s Housing & Economic Development Department.

Gregory Watson, who spent 25 years in Massachusetts working as an urban planner and managing statewide planning and affordable housing development and finance programs, will take over Portland’s department if the City Council confirms his appointment on Monday, according to an announcement from the city.

“Greg brings a wealth of experience in working with communities at the state and local level on creating affordable housing and community economic development projects,” West said in a statement. “I’m excited to have him join our leadership team and I look forward to working with him on projects and policies that will help address Council and staff goals.”

The Housing and Economic Development director’s duties include setting the city’s strategy for recruiting and retaining businesses, developing the city’s marketing plan, and managing the grants that fund Portland’s housing and community development programs.

Watson, who holds a master’s degree in public administration from Clemson University, has been a Portland resident since 2020, the announcement said. His salary will be just under $140,000.

“I am humbled by the challenge this position represents to engage with community leaders and partners in addressing issues that contribute to creating places of opportunity where everyone can live and work with dignity while participating in and benefitting from our city’s economy,” Watson said in a statement.

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